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Unread 11-06-2012, 11:26 AM   #1
Access
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build-it-yourself gear?

I know a lot of people here build their own props, do any of you guys also build your own photographic gear? If so, for what purpose, what was the approximate time spent, cost, and effectiveness compared to commercial or store-bought gear?

For instance here is the lighting gear I have built and am currently using.
http://accessaccess.deviantart.com/#/d5k9w89
I've built others in the past, but most have been outdated or redesigned to what you see above.

I know building your own (functioning) digital camera or lens is probably well beyond what a person could do in the modern world. Things like lighting equipment, diffusers, or modifiers are a start, though.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 11:43 AM   #2
Surfsama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Access View Post
I know building your own (functioning) digital camera or lens is probably well beyond what a person could do in the modern world. Things like lighting equipment, diffusers, or modifiers are a start, though.
I'm building a deathray disguised as a Nikon camera. Yup, I'm taking over one cosplayer-at-a-time.


I've built brackets for my soft boxes and a diffuser but nothing fancy.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 11:59 AM   #3
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I've built a couple of things.

I built a beauty dish out of a wok from IKEA. It works pretty well but it's a bit heavy to put on my cheap boom, so it doesn't get as much use as I would like. I need to start working with it more and get better with it, especially using the feathered edge of the light.

And, I built a Steampunk-styled wearable light stand. It's a backpack with two towers above my left and right shoulders, with threaded lugs on top of each tower to attach a flash with wireless receiver.
http://www.avidchick.net/2012/02/21/...eampunk-style/

I need to build a softbox or stripbox to go over one of the lights for that rig. I've been meaning to do it for almost a year now. I have all the parts and most of my design, now I just need to figure out how to make it sturdy and secure so it doesn't blow away in a gentle breeze.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 12:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by nathancarter View Post
And, I built a Steampunk-styled wearable light stand. It's a backpack with two towers above my left and right shoulders, with threaded lugs on top of each tower to attach a flash with wireless receiver.
http://www.avidchick.net/2012/02/21/...eampunk-style/
This is fantastic. I've contemplated somehow integrating lighting into a cosplay (like halo or something), but haven't tried it. Steampunk is a great type of costume style to do that with.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 12:17 PM   #5
Surfsama
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Originally Posted by nathancarter View Post
I just need to figure out how to make it sturdy and secure so it doesn't blow away in a gentle breeze.
Tell me about it...


After this breezy encounter, I thought there should be a way to protect your lights/flashes by having a metal ring attached to your stand to take the brunt of a fall. I might try to make something like that.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 12:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by sukotsuto View Post
This is fantastic. I've contemplated somehow integrating lighting into a cosplay (like halo or something), but haven't tried it. Steampunk is a great type of costume style to do that with.
I've seen steampunk cameras before but they were always just a stylized skin over a commercial camera.

http://www.cosplay.com/photo/3004988/
http://www.cosplay.com/photo/3004989/
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Unread 11-06-2012, 01:07 PM   #7
nathancarter
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So far, I haven't bothered to try to cover, modify, or disguise the camera go to with the rest of the Steampunk kit. I'm not going to sacrifice any functionality just for cosmetic improvements.

However, I might see if I can find a more suitable neck strap. The SunSniper is nice but is very modern-looking.
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Unread 11-11-2012, 01:21 AM   #8
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These are some pretty great mods & DIYs here so far.

So while I was under a case of cabin fever due to Hurricane Sandy, I got bored & was looking up diffusers & softboxes & ran across this popup flash diffuser/reflector softbox DIY on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotat...&v=BMAx0L227nA

I was somewhat interested with the result & wanted to try it out myself. This is how it came out:



& then a quick test shot:

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Unread 11-11-2012, 01:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sempai-Kun View Post
These are some pretty great mods & DIYs here so far.

So while I was under a case of cabin fever due to Hurricane Sandy, I got bored & was looking up diffusers & softboxes & ran across this popup flash diffuser/reflector softbox DIY on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotat...&v=BMAx0L227nA

I was somewhat interested with the result & wanted to try it out myself. This is how it came out:



& then a quick test shot:

I think that is a gorgeous result. I never use my flashes, but your before and after might make me check out that video. Thanks man.
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Unread 02-05-2013, 12:00 AM   #10
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Back with a real quick DIY after looking at the Gary Fong Collapsible Lightsphere. I have yet to actually try it out & for $50 for a piece of plastic I may never will to be honest.



btw both images were shot in the same camera & speedlight settings:

1/50th
ISO 100
F/3.5
18mm

1/4th power
24mm
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Last edited by Sempai-Kun : 02-05-2013 at 12:02 AM.
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Unread 02-05-2013, 03:42 AM   #11
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Forgot about this thread...
I recently finished a panel light which is similar in concept to the smaller one pictured earlier, but much larger:
http://accessaccess.deviantart.com/a...000L-350997751
http://accessaccess.deviantart.com/a...rols-350996847
http://accessaccess.deviantart.com/a...nals-351633885
It still needs some work, I have a few different phosphors being ordered to give more control over the white balance. But it provides a constant white (2700K to 5000K) and diffuse light that is the size of a small softbox.
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Unread 02-05-2013, 10:02 AM   #12
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I've been bored lately, so I decided to DIY a beauty dish too. I ended up using a 20" salad bowl that I ordered from Amazon for about $8 delivered. After a weekend of painting and waiting, painting and waiting, finally put the final clear coat this morning (I hate spray painting, since I prime first, and then spray the color layer, and finish up with the clear coat to keep the paint from smudging/chipping off later). With the weather being cold, I have no doubt the painting was done under sub-optimal conditions. The 4 cans of spray paint (flat white for inner surface, matte clear, flat black for outer surface, primer) cost more than the bowl! I ordered the speedlite bracket for $22 because my DIY bracket hardware efforts were a non-starter after factoring in the costs, and cosmetics (hideous Frankenstein level bracket was looming as a possibility, and the weight was another issue). Bought some nuts and bolts and washers for $5. Re-used old 50-count CD holder and ordered a mylar balloon for $3, and a clear report cover for $1.50 for the reflector section, used it to build a conical reflector piece, instead of going with the convex mirror that people used as the reflector piece.

I can hopefully put it together tonight or tomorrow night,schedule permitting. I took photos, so I can share the set of them soon. The biggest headache is gridding the dish. Most grid options will cost more than the dish/hardware itself. Ack!

Last edited by Patcave : 02-05-2013 at 10:09 AM.
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Unread 02-05-2013, 03:48 PM   #13
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I've tried some DIY stuff, and while I've gotten OK results out of it in terms of light quality, none of it has been portable enough. It takes a lot of engineering to come up with a softbox that's big enough to be worth using*, easy enough to collapse or take apart, and durable enough to handle field use, and by the time you're done you might as well have just bought a commercial option. A cheap CowboyStudio or RPS or whatever box from Amazon will last longer, work better, and not cost much more.

*In my opinion and that of many other photographers, anything under about 15" is too small to have much of an effect on portraiture, and if it's anything but a head & shoulders you really need 24"+. A 12" softbox or the like won't really be all that much different from a bare flash once it's more than about 2' away, and any difference you see in your photos is probably actually the result of a changed ratio between ambient and flash thanks to the light lost by the diffusion material.
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Unread 02-05-2013, 07:42 PM   #14
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Max_Archer you are right, there often isn't much difference between a flash and a 12" softbox at reasonable distances.

It's easy to find a situation where a 'foamy' works better than a bounce card but often the reason here is that the foamy happens to give a more favorable ratio of forward and off-the-ceiling bounce flash.

In my case I had to grow the panel light for a number of reasons, the 2.5" version was painful to look at even at a fourth or half power. There were some heat and efficiency problems, cooling the LEDs with a fan and heatsink only solved one side of the problem, as the phosphor was simply being overtaxed.
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Unread 02-09-2013, 05:09 PM   #15
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Anybody make a flash gel holder before? I'm tempted to try making my own this week:
http://www.craigcolvin.com/photograp...sh-gel-holder/

Edit: I finished making them! Well worth the effort, happy to not destroy my gels with tape anymore.
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